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Statement by Ambassador HU Xiaodi At the Plenary of the 2nd Part of the 2005 Session of the Conference on Disarmament
2005/07/07

Mr. President,

Security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states is an important issue in the field of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. The Chinese delegation would like to make some observations on the main aspects of this issue.

First, it is the right of the non-nuclear-weapon states to seek security assurance from nuclear-weapon states.

Having refrained from developing nuclear weapons, the non-nuclear-weapon states are fully justified to demand not to be threatened by nuclear weapons and to insist that this form of security assurance be made legally-binding.

Security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states is not a one way favour accorded by the nuclear-weapon states. The non-nuclear-weapon states, by refraining from developing nuclear weapons, are contributing to the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear disarmament in the interest of world peace and stability. Providing them with security assurance will enhance their sense of security, reduce their motivation to acquire nuclear weapons, and will therefore play a positive role in the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation and safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, of which the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) serves as the cornerstone.

Secondly, the fundamental solution to the issue of security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states is the complete prohibition and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.

Pending meeting this objective, all nuclear-weapon states should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time or under any circumstances, and to conclude an international legal instrument to this effect at an early date.

The uses of biological and chemical weapons were prohibited under the 1925 Geneva Protocol. Only thereafter were the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) concluded on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of biological and chemical weapons. By the same token, without the commitment on no-first-use of nuclear weapons and security assurance for non-nuclear-weapons states, the objective of nuclear disarmament cannot be truly served, nor will the world be freed from nuclear weapons in the true sense.

To gradually reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy, not to list any states as nuclear strike targets and not to make any nuclear strike plans against any non-nuclear-weapon states will facilitate progress in the area of security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states.

Thirdly, the launching of negotiations on an international legal instrument on security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states is a realistic task in the current context of international arms control and disarmament.

Non-nuclear-weapon states have worked tirelessly for a long time for security assurance and have seen certain results. The adoption of Security Council Resolutions 255 and 984 showed that the nuclear-weapon states have, to a certain extent, provided positive and negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states. By signing and ratifying protocols related to the various nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, the nuclear-weapon states also provided security assurances to the states parties of these treaties.

However, the Security Council resolutions do not amount to international legal instruments. The security assurances provided by nuclear-weapon states to states parties of nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties cannot solve non-states parties' problem of security assurances. That is a far cry from the objective of concluding an international legal instrument on security assurance.

China supports the Conference on Disarmament to establish an ad hoc committee on negative security assurance (NSA) in accordance with the relevant mandate as contained in the A5 proposal so that it can start substantive work in negotiating an international legal instrument on security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states.

We can also support the negotiation of a protocol on security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states within the framework of the NPT. China will give favorable consideration to any proposal or initiative as long as they are conducive to progress on security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states.

We are of the view that any such international legal instrument or protocol must clearly stipulate that the five nuclear-weapon states provide unconditional security assurance to non-nuclear-weapon states.

Mr. President,

China has all along undertaken not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time and under any circumstances, thus providing unconditional NSA to non-nuclear-weapon states. In its statement issued in 1995, China reaffirmed the above position and pledged to provide positive security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states. We have always called upon other nuclear-weapon states to enter into unconditional commitment not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.

China has signed all protocols to nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties which are open for signature. China has already reached an agreement with ASEAN on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its protocol. We hope for an early resolution of relevant issues between ASEAN and the other four nuclear-weapon states so that the protocol will be open for signature as soon as possible. China supports the efforts of the five Central Asian countries in setting up a nuclear-weapon-free zone and welcomes their agreement on Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its Protocol. China has no difficulty with the current text presented by the five Central Asian countries and hopes that an agreement could be reached between the five Central Asian countries and relevant nuclear-weapon states at an early date.

It is the hope of China that the aspiration of non-nuclear-weapon states for universal and legally-binding security assurance will be realized at an early date and we shall continue our endeavor to that end.

Mr. President,

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that on 27th of April 2005, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China approved China's accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques and that the representative of China submitted China's instrument of accession to the depository of the Convention, Mr. Kofi Anan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at the UN Headquarters in New York on the 8th of June 2005.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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